Mancelona Historical Society

The Mancelona Historical Society

It is with great appreciation to the ladies and gentlemen of the Mancelona Historical Society that the information and photographs on this and related pages is being presented. I sincerely thank them for their generosity.

Mancelona Andress, daughter of Perry Andress, was born March 28, 1865 in Missouri. She came to the Mancelona area in 1869, when she was four years old. Her father was the first settler to locate at the site of the town. When she was thirteen, the family moved to Petoskey, where she finished her education and became a teacher. In 1884 she married Charles Pratt of Petoskey. She passed away in 1962 at the age of 97 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery at Petoskey. The township, and later, the village of Mancelona, took its name from her.

From the Antrim County News, Wednesday, October 9, 1996...

Mancelona Genealogy Group Seeks Participants

August 27 marked the first anniversary of the Mancelona Genealogy Society. Thanks to the efforts of Cassie Crippen and Lois Robinson, genealogy enthusiasts in the Mancelona area can meet every Tuesday from 11:00 am until noon at the Senior Center at 122 East State Street.

Thus far, about 14 people have attended one or more meetings, with about 5 attending on a regular basis. An occasional guest is Donna Marrs, president of the Gaylord genealogy group known as the "Gaylord Factfinders". Donna has been helpful in sharing her expertise and answering questions posed by members as well as reporting on various events taking place that are of linterest to genealogists.

Interest in learning about our ancestry is on the increase nationwide. More and more people want to delve into the past and preserve the history of their families for future generations. At present the Mancelona group has no formal agenda but it does provide a fine opportunity for lively discussion, the exchange of ideas and problem solving. For information on joining the Mancelona Genealogy Society, call 1-231-587-0503 or 1-231-331-6236.

1870's Exerpts from the Traverse Bay Progress - an Elk Rapids Newspaper

March 26, 1873 Perry Andress is building an extensive addition 60 x 40 feet to his Mancelona hotel...

May 14, 1873 Perry Andress, the proprietor of this growing town, made us a call last week. The present dimensions of his hotel, 44 feet in length by 30 in width, two stories high, are not equal to the demand upon him and he is about to build an addition, of the same height, 60 feet long by 48 wide. He expects, also to plat his village this spring, as there is quite a demand for lots which he is unable to supply till this is effected. Business is very brisk, and as the railroad draws near the advent of strangers is correspondingly increased. Handy & Carpenter are enjoying a large trade and a rapidly increasing ony. The iron is being laid on the railroad north of the Boardman and Mancelona is about out of the woods. They expect to be in communication with the outside world in about a month.

May 21, 1873 The Iron Company have let to Perry Andress of Mancelona, the contract for transporting 24,000 cords of wood to the furnace, from the banking grounds on Elk, Round and Torch Lakes, to the furnace. The Company furnish him eight scows and two tugs. This involves a great amount of labor and will require the services of a large number of men as the wood all has to be delivered before the close of navigation. Mr. Daniel Way has the contract for unloading the wood from the scows, piling the same at the furnace yard, and filling the kilns as required.

June 4, 1873 Mancelona - This new village has just been surveyed for plotting by Mr. Steele, our county surveyor. Mr. Marshall Emery, late of Albion, is about to open another store there, in opposition to Handy & Carpenter, which will make trade more lively. It has also been decided to open a new road from the railroad at this village to the north west corner of the Township, thence through Forest Home, to Torch Lake.

February 20, 1874 New Post Office open at Mancelona, and Perry Andress is appointed Postmaster.

February 23, 1877 Perry Andress, of Mancelona was arrested and brought to this place last Sunday on the charge of bribery in connnection with matters relating to the removal of the County Seat to Intermediate Rapids. He waved examination and gave bail in the sum of $1,000 to appear at the next term of the Circuit Court. R. W. Coy and Alex. Campbell are his bondsmen. As we have no desire to discuss or prejudice the case before the trial, we forbear giving further particulars.

In The Beginning...1869-1880: The Township of Mancelona was organized by act of legislature, approved January 18, 1871 and embraced the territory of Townships 29 North, of Ranges 1,2,3, and 4 of Otsego County and Townships 29 North of Ranges 5 and 6 of Antrim County. the first election was held at the home of Perry Andress on the first Monday of April 1871, and Mr. Andress, C.S. Brink and W. H. bonney were inspectors of the election. The earliest available records list the names of George Bender as Supervisor; Hiram Bradford, Treasurer; Grazee Ayers, School Inspector; John Savage, Clerk; and Perry Andress as Highway Commissioner. These men all served for many years in various township positions.

The Village of Mancelona was organized and the first Village Council met April 18, 1889 at the law offices of N.C.Weter. The following officers were the first to serve the new Village: William Thompson, President; Isaac Rodenbaugh, Lucius Roscoe and Augustus Wallbrecht, Trustees for two years; LeGrand Slussar, Charles Herrick and Dwight Marsh, Trustees for one year; Noah Burdick, Village Clerk; Warren Watson, Treasurer; Almon Culbertson, Street Commissioner; and William Kittle, Constable.

The Township, and later the Village, took its name from the daughter of the first settler to locate at the site of this town. She was Mancelona Andress,daughter of Perry Andress. She came here with her parents in 1869 when she was four years old. Her nickname was "Tip" and for many years the town was dubbed "Tiptown". The family came to where Mancelona now is, before it was organized, and took a site of land in this vicinity as a homestead. He erected the Mancelona House, a hotel building, and opened a place of public entertainment when the railroad, built through Mancelona in 1872, was just being surveyed.

The Mountain House.
The first building in the area, built by Perry Andress in 1868.
This photo was taken about 1898.

Practically all the early settlers in Mancelona were Civil War Veterans who came to this section of the country to make homes. Due to the abundance of timber it was only natural to turn to products of the forests. The first settlers had cut the giant trees, dragged them into windrows and burned them. By the middle 1870's however, industries using wood products sprang up. The Mancelona Handle Company, The Oval Wood Dish Factory, The Mancelona Broom Factory, the Screen Door Factory and several sawmills made the harveting of timber profitable.

In the Fall of 1871 Marshall St. John Passage settled in Mancelona. His son, Bertie Ulysses, was the first male child born in Mancelona township. Mr. Passage said that when he came there were only three houses between Mancelona and Spencer Creek, now Alden. The place was a beautiful, but almost unbroken, forest. He was over 11 days in coming with his team from Lansing by way of Big Rapids and Traverse City.

Reuben A. Smith, lumberer, came in August 1870. He assisted in organizing the township at a meeting in the Mountain House in April 1871. There were just enough persons present to effect an organization.

In 1871 Hiram H. Bradford located land and prepared a home in the dense wilderness of Mancelona. Mrs. Bradford, walking, carried their youngest son, three months old, in her arms nearly all the way from Spencer Creek, a distance of 12 miles. Their dwelling was the third house built in Mancelona. All their building material, provisions, etc. had to be procured at Elk Rapids, brought to Spencer Creek by water, and hauled the rest of the way by team. Common lumber was six dollars per thousand, and cost eight dollars per thousand for hauling. They often carried their provisions on their backs, as there were scarcely any teams in the place. Those were days of hardship.

In the spring of 1872 Leander C. Handy came to Mancelona, and, with A.D. Carpenter, purchased premises, built a store, and opened a line of general merchandise. He bought the first village lot sold in this place and built the first frame building. This was the first movement having any connection with a village, as it established the nucleus for a business center. Section 20, upon a portion of which the village is located, had been occupied only a short time.

The second store was started by Marshall Emery, and for a long time these two stores constituted the principal, and about the only business interests of the place. Soon after Messrs. Handy and Carpenter came, a post office was established, with Perry Andress as postmaster. He kept the office in his hotel about a year, and was then succeeded by Mr. Handy.

The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad arrived at Mancelona in 1872. The government had granted the Railroad Company every odd numbered section of land for six miles on each side of its right-of-way to help defray the expense of opening the wilderness.

The first school was kept by Rebecca Filer at the Mountain House, Perry Andress's place, 1871. There were four pupils. The Congregational Church in Mancelona was organized under the labors of the Rev. J. R. Savage in 1874. This organization has been disbanded for many years and the church building is now the Masonic Temple.

Mancelona was first supplied with occassional Methodist Episcopal preaching from 1873 to 1875 by Revs. M. Browning and N. E. Preston. The Mancelona-Kalkaska circuit was organized by the Rev. A. P. Moors, P.E., and was supplied by the Rev. J. Greenstead in 1877 and 1878. Mancelona was made a separate charge in 1880.

In the fall of 1877 Mr. Andress platted about 15 acres on the north one-half of Section 20. The plat was surveyed by D. E. McVean of Kalkaska and was put on record in January 1878. Before there were any mills or factories in the place, Charles H. Miller contractor and builder, migrated to Mancelona in March 1877. There were only seven frame houses and one log house at that time.

The schools of Mancelona received careful attention and liberal support. In 1875 a schoolhouse was built which answered the needs of the district for several years, but in 1882 it was found that the rapid growth of the village made increased educational facilities necessary and a new school building was erected at a cost of about $3,000. To this building a gymnasium and classrooms were later added. In April 1947, the original building was completely destroyed by fire. A new elementary building was ready for use in February 1951 and the old grade building was them used for the high school, which, since rthe fire, had been housed in various buildings in the community.

The Mancelona Herald was established in 1879 by Clark S. Edwards and L. E. Slussar. At that time there were but a few families in the village, and the outlook for journalistic success was not particularly assuring. After nearly three years of successful effort in the enterprise, Mr. Slussar purchased Mr. Edwards' interest in the paper. Mr. Edwards took the lead in founding The Mancelona Herald, The Elmire Gazette and the Mackinaw City Pilot. The Mancelona Herald is the only paper remaining now.

Mancelona, 1880's to the present

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